School of Mathematics

Search site

Brian Golding

Deputy Director of Weather Science at the Met Office

What is your current position?
Deputy Director of Weather Science at the Met Office.

What does your current role involve?
Co-leadership of Met Office Science and strategic management of weather, ocean and air quality forecasting science.

How do you use the knowledge you gained from your studies in your job?
In my final year at Leeds, I specialised in fluid mechanics and computational methods, the two primary knowledge areas underpinning numerical modelling of the atmosphere. More generally, my mathematical training enables me to speak and understand the language of the bright young scientists who are now at the forefront of research.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Amongst many, the operational implementation of the 15km resolution non-hydrostatic weather forecast model for the UK in 1986 was probably the best, as it put the Met Office in a world leading position in local-scale Numerical Weather Prediction.

How do you think that maths graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?
Applications of Mathematics in the Met Office are hugely diverse, so the new graduate or postgraduate entrant can choose either to specialise in a specific area of meteorology, or to move between areas, applying their mathematical expertise to problems in climate change, atmospheric physics, data assimilation etc etc, or elucidating the connections between weather and society, the economy, human health, ecosystems etc etc. It is possible to remain a scientist while progressing to a senior leadership position, but many scientists choose to move into service provision or corporate management. Whatever the choice, everyone in the organisation has the satisfaction of contributing to an enterprise that so obviously addresses real needs.

Why did you choose to study maths?
The requirement for entry to the Met Office was a maths or physics degree. Maths was my stronger subject.